Thanks for all your lovely comments, and I am glad you enjoyed the blog and the pictures of the wedding – some lovely memories. Having stayed over with Jenny after the big day, we piled everything back into the car after lunch and headed home.
Well home is where Colin thought we were going, but unbeknown to him, there were 70 of his relatives and friends waiting at a local hostelry to sing Happy Birthday! I had duped him into believing that we were meeting his children for supper, as the twins wouldn't be able to make it to Devon with us.
Colin's daughter, Vicky, and I had contacted everyone we could, and then she and her brothers decorated the pub in readiness for their Dad's arrival. I'll be honest and say I was a tad nervous on the day, as when I'd first suggested a party to him, he'd decided against it, but Vicky and I felt it would be a shame to let the date pass without a gathering! Luckily his face was a picture when we walked in and everyone was there, cheering him 🙂 So all in all, a great success, and a wonderful finish to the weekend.
Colin's actual birthday we spent with his mum, and we had a delicious lunch outdoors in the last of the warm weather. I'd bought most of his presents beforehand, but I had made a photobook for him which was a complete surprise, and he loved it.
I'd gathered photographs from various members of the family, and then asked each of his children to write a birthday message to their Dad which was included on pages devoted to each of them… being technically inept, it took me far longer to put it all together than it probably should have done, but he was truly delighted with the finished article, so it was worth it 🙂
As with my 50th, the celebrations were spread out over a few days and Friday saw us getting up at an unbelievably early hour and heading down to Paignton in Devon where we were meeting up with Colin's children, their partners and friends. This particular part of the world is very special to them all as Colin spent many a summer here with his mum and dad, and then took his own children there when they were little.
We actually had several hours of sunshine that afternoon and decided to take the ferry across to Dartmouth which I thought was lovely. We had lunch outside and, having mooched around for a while, headed back before the heavens opened! We weren't as lucky the following day, and it was unbelievably cold on the front at Torbay, with lashing rain and wind that would take more than a dose of Gaviscon to cure!!
Having braved it for a short while we made our way to Cockington (the prettiest village in England so the tourist information says!) and had a delicious lunch. I think I slept most of the afternoon, as I felt shattered, and we had planned to see the fireworks in Brixham Harbour. We weren't at all sure if they'd actually go ahead as it was so wet, but the skies cleared and it was a fabulous display, with the famous Golden Hind illuminated beautifully in the coloured lights…
I'm sure our Sunday was spent in much the same way as yours – watching the Flotilla on the Thames and marvelling at the Royal Family's stoicism in standing for four hours in the freezing cold! I'm not surprised Prince Philip got a chill – amazed but relieved it wasn't hypothermia! As for the choir standing in the pouring rain with their make-up running down their faces, I thought they did brilliantly!
In spite of the weather, it was a pretty impressive spectacle and I wanted to share with you the fact that my friend Ros's husband Chris made all the red velvet swags and festoons on the Royal Barge! Marvellous eh? 🙂 His company specialise in theatre curtains for all the West End Productions but this was a real honour. Both he and Ros had tickets to stand on the Millenium Bridge and watch from there, and although I know they were both freezing, they said it was a day they'd always remember.
By way of a thank you, Chris was given three of the flower posies from the boat and so Ros took them with her to the Hospice the following day, which thrilled everyone. Maybe it was lack of sleep the night before, or possibly several Pimms (!) but I slept for 14 hours and woke up in time to wave the others off, before we ourselves headed home.
Of course it's been very exciting for QVC this last week, with our first live broadcast from the new studios in Chiswick Park. I had been there before my op, but wanted to be a part of our first day, and I have to say it all looks VERY swish! I'm still sharing a dressing room with Kathy which is good, and although there's a little less room to move around in, the storage space is great!!
I'm delighted to tell you that I am officially back on air on July 1st – for a Sunday like no other!! You won't believe what they've lined up for you, but you are going to love it… 🙂
Before I return, Colin and I are taking a short break to Turkey in search of the sun, which I hope may also grace this fair Isle while I'm away. Of course it could mean you will be blessed with 90 degree heat here, while I sit in drizzle on the beach!! :)
I'll leave you with this glimpse of summer which I snapped on my walk the other evening… you can't beat England when the sun shines eh? 🙂 Let me know where you're going on your travels, and I'll have some holiday snaps for you next week!
Stay well and happy, with my love, Ali xx